“From the day after the day of rest — that is, from the day you bring the sheaf for waving — you are to count seven full weeks, until the day after the seventh week; you are to count fifty days; and then you are to present a new grain offering to Adonai.”
What is Counting the Omer?
According to the Torah’s instruction, we are to count 49 days (7 weeks) from the day following Passover until Shavuot (Pentecost). It is a period of semi-mourning called Serfirat HaOmer or “the counting of sheaves” and marks the time period between the Passover (physical redemption) and the giving of the Torah (spiritual redemption) at Mount Sinai. The connection between the resurrection and Shavuot (Pentecost), the counting is highly symbolic for believers in Messianic believers because all of Yeshua’s post-resurrection appearances and ascension occurred during this time
Why do we do it?
It is a type and shadow, for we know that the Brit Chadashah (New Covenant) reveals that Shavuot is the climax of G-d’s plan of deliverance through Yeshua. As Messianic believers, Yeshua’s bloody sacrifice on the cross, as our Passover Lamb, removed our sins and makes us pure. Shavuot is the fulfillment of Yeshua’s promise of the giving of the Ruach HaKodesh (the Holy Spirit) to those who trust in Him for salvation and restoration to the Father.
Therefore, Counting the Omer is a countdown that represents giving of the New Covenant to mankind which makes the Torah a matter of the heart, written by G-d’s Holy Spirit. It is a period of repentance and reflection that is focused upon being clothed with Spirit so that we may encounter the resurrected Glory of the L-rd. The waving of the sheaves represents the “one new man”, which is composed of both Jew and Gentile in Messiah before the altar of the L-rd as referenced in Ephesians 2:14.
How we do it?
Every day during Serfirat HaOmer a special blessing is said naming exactly how many more days are left before the seven weeks are complete. Some also recite Psalm 67 because it is composed of 49 Hebrew words that correspond to the Omer count.
Every evening from the second night of Passover to the night before Shavuot, the following blessing is recited:
“Blessed are You L-rd our G-d, King of the Universe, who sanctified us with his commandments and commanded us about the Counting of the Omer. Today is the ___ day of the Omer. O Compassionate One! May He return for us speedily in our time.”
Special Days During Serfirat HaOmer.
There are several special days during the Serfirat HaOmer to celebrate. All of Yeshua’s post resurrection appearances occurred during the Serfirat HaOmer. Our family celebrates these special days with meals, kiddish, crafts, special activities, and reading of Scriptures.
Day 1: Feast of Unleavened Bread. This is the day that Yeshua is buried. (Matthew 27:57-61)
Day 3: Feast of First Fruits. This is the day of Yeshua’s resurrection. Yeshua appeared to Mary Magdalene (Mark 16:9, John 20:16-18), some women (Matthew 28:5-10), and then to Simon Peter (Luke 24:34; 1 Corinthians 15:5).
Day 4: Yeshua appeared to the two on the Road to Emmaus (Luke 24:31) and later that evening to the 12 disciples. (Mark 16:4; Luke 24:33-39; John 20:19)
Day 7: G-d parts the Red Sea for Moses. (Exodus 14).
Day 9: Yeshua appeared to the 12 again (John 20:26).
Day 17: Dag Ba’Omer. This is a special day comes from Beth Immanuel Messianic Synagogue and has become our family tradition. Dag Ba’Omer in Hebrew means “fish in the Omer”, and it is named this to mark Yeshua’s appearance to the disciples who had returned to their fishing jobs. Yeshua appeared to Thomas. (John 20:24-29) Sometime later he appeared a third time to the disciples as they went back to their fishing jobs. (John 21:1-14) Later He appeared to 500 and then to James, the half-brother of Yeshua. (1 Corinthians 15:6-7) Our family celebrates this day by eating fish and reading the account in Scriptures.
Day 33: Lag B’Omer. This special day comes from the Talmud and it is said that on this day, a plague was lifted which had killed 24,000 of Rabbi Akivah’s disciples. Lag B’Omer is a joy filled day of celebration that includes bonfires, parades, weddings, and first hair cuts for children. After this day, the semi-mourning period continues. While it is important to take time to remember and mourn sad things of life. We must recognize G-d’s goodness and provision in the midst of sorrowful times. For believers in Messiah, Lag B’Omer reminds us that we live in a fallen world that causes us grief. Our hope is in Yeshua and our focus on New Jerusalem. G-d will wipe every tear and there will be no pain or suffering. (Revelation 1:3-4) There will be a time when our grief will end and it will be marked by the “The Marriage of the Lamb”. (Revelation 19:7)
Day 43: Mem B’Omer. He ascended into heaven from Bethany and commanded His followers not to leave Jerusalem until the promise of the Father was fulfilled during Shavuot. (Luke 24:50; Acts 1:9-12)
Day 45: The Children of Israel camped and Moses ascended Mount Sinai. (Exodus 19)
Day 49: Erev Shavuot.
Day 50. Shavuot. The giving of the Rauch HaKodesh. (Acts 2)
Suggested Themes of Study for Serfirat HaOmer.
This is a time to reflect upon our lives in order to identify and purge those things that are blocking us from deepening our relationship with the Adonai. It is a time to purify ourselves before Him. A time to reaffirm our commitment to the promised offered through the Renewed Covenant. Some areas of study may include, but are not limited to:
• Names of G-d
• The Book of Acts
• Characteristics of G-d
• Fruits of Spirit
• Developing a Servant’s Heart
• Armor of G-d
• Seven Emotional Attributes, which include: Chesed – Loving-Kindness, Gevurah – Justice and Discipline, Tiferet – Harmony and Compassion, Netzach – Endurance, Hod – Humility, Yesod – Bonding, and Malchut – Sovereignty and Leadership
We hope that you will join our family as we Count the Omer. Blessings from our family to yours.